Alfred Hitchcock's ?Psycho' is known for being emblematic of the suspense genre inasmuch as a crime is at the core of the scenario. However it is perfectly arguable that the movie is about women and maybe about two women that embody Hitchcock's view about the opposite gender. It is also possible to draw a parallel between Psycho's heroine, Marion, and Mary Rogers death in popular culture (or E.A. Poe?s Marie Roget). Psycho does not only deal with suspense but expresses the very personal conception of women of Alfred Hitchcock. Like many of Hitchcock's other movies Psycho deals with lots of symbols that actually portray the director's fears that are located in a historical context. It is remarkable that the heroine, Marion, disappears during the first half of the movie, just as in Antonioni's L'Avventura, that was released the same year (1960). Yet Marion is the center of the whole movie and though the character disappears from the screen it is not totally replaced by the other woman of the film that is embodied in Norman's "dark side". As Norman's schizophrenia is caused by his mother, Hitchcock actually portrays the two women he knows, i.e. the mother and the lover, to which we can add the sister who is a neutral character. In ?The Birds' for instance, the whole movie can be interpreted as an expression of Hitchcock's fear of women. The birds in Psycho can be seen as an anticipation of The Birds, always prone to jeopardize an apparently comfortable situation.
[...] Marion's character (Janet Leigh) is the typical Hitchcock heroine, created by Grace Kelly a few years before. By the way in the first scenes Marion has a white purse that looks like the Hermes Kelly Bag, created in 1956: G. Kelly used it to hide her pregnancy on a Life Magazine cover. As G. Kelly, the Hitchcockian heroine is very white, blonde, in order to look perfectly innocent, and yet she always does the wrong thing: Marion steals money, shelters in a scary motel, etc. [...]
[...] In that way Hitchcock's suspense movie can be linked with the fascination created by Mary Rogers' death. The excitement and entertainment created by women's murder is a men's fantasy whose origin lies in the emancipation of urban women of their time. As a matter of fact it seems to be an intrinsic gender tension caused by the new status of women, both in the mid-19th century and the 1960s. The process of defining a status for women seems to be a difficult one inasmuch as in both stories the independent women end up being murdered. [...]
[...] Representations of women: Hitchcock's Psycho and Mary Rogers Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho is known for being emblematic of the suspense genre inasmuch as a crime is at the core of the scenario. However it is perfectly arguable that the movie is about women and maybe about two women that embody Hitchcock's view about the opposite gender. It is also possible to draw a parallel between Psycho's heroine, Marion, and Mary Rogers' death in popular culture (or E.A. Poe's Marie Roget). Psycho does not only deal with suspense but expresses the very personal conception of women of Alfred Hitchcock. [...]
[...] Sexuality is also a central topic in both stories inasmuch as both portrayed women have chosen their own sexuality, outside of the traditional marriage structure. Mary Rogers may have been a prostitute, and the opening scene of Psycho (after the view over Phoenix) is located in a bedroom. Then, Marion is lying in the bed with a man that is not her husband, only wearing underwear, which is extremely audacious in 1960. As far as sexuality is concerned both women are emblematic of a certain emancipation that caused – and still causes today- much social condemnation. [...]
[...] The lover Marion stands for the 1960s American women inasmuch as she looks very independent. She has nothing to see with Hitchcock's childhood image of women in London's suburb in the early twentieth century. Indeed Marion embodies the modern middle-class western woman of the city: she drives a car, she is not married, she has a job, her father is not mentioned, etc. And yet Hitchcock seems to be willing to represent his vision of a duality of the modern women. [...]
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